December 2, 2020 was a glorious day. George Birdseye Gardner arrived safely at 36 weeks 1 day, 5 pounds 11 ounces.
He was born with two loose nuchal cords around his neck. The week before at an ultrasound the maternal fetal medicine specialist assured me the cord was nowhere near his neck. Did she miss it? Did she deliberately lie to me so I wouldn’t worry? I don’t know.
December 3, 2017 was the worst day of my life, when I learned that Tinsley’s heart had stopped beating. To be at Waterbury Hospital the same day exactly three years later, holding our precious, breathing 5th child, was surreal, painful, confusing, overwhelming, and joyful.
George spent that night in the NICU for some help with his blood sugar. It was beyond strange to walk by Tinsley’s Library and Snackbar, which we founded in her honor, and see her plaque which read the exact same day. Only time, marked so squarely and neatly in our earthly years, separated me from the most horrific despair and devastation and the most glorious relief and happiness.
I often say that life is learning to carry both extreme sadness and extreme joy at the same time. Last week we carried them in the same breath, holding them both dearly from the same place of deep, deep love.
I think I could see God and fate in the timing of his arrival. But assigning events to the spiritual world is a dangerous business… it could leave me wondering about the rhyme and reason for Tinsley dying. It is perhaps the most human thing of all to try and rationalize the bad, the evil, the undoings we experience. I still choose to defer it all to nature. It helps me keep a stronger foothold in a loving God that I can trust.
George has a little button nose like James and like Tinsley. I see her face, as I feed him, and I continue to mourn not being able to share this world with her. Parenting and loving children who are on both sides of heaven will be my constant joy and heartbreak on this earthly ride.
And I will continue to have faith in God’s power to give me the intuition, strength and grace to be the mom that each of my children needs, wherever they may be. And that should be enough for now.